Created By: GameChainsaw on January 10, 2010

Bow And Sword In Accord

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A twist on "pen and sword, in accord" of course, this is a subtrope for the Choice of Two Weapons trope, currently simply known as "the Ranger". I thought this title was probably better for it, and I also mentioned that the Choice of Two Weapons trope would likely become an index of its own at some point. So I decided to get cracking.

Actual description starting... now!

Exactly What It Says on the Tin, a character who wields both a bow or sword. (This includes crossbows.) This is quite common in fiction for a number of reasons:

  • It makes tactical sense. Even the toughest swordsman or most accurate archer will find their weapons useless when fighting at the wrong range.
  • It looks damn cool.
  • It gives the author another tool for their hero to use, allowing for easier writing during action sequences.

Characters armed this way tend to be rather lightly armoured. This may of course be due to the fact that most archers are lightly armoured. For some reason, the archer element seems to dominate. (When was the last time you saw or read about a hero in full plate using a bow?) They tend to either be extremely agile or wily and cunning in order to make up for it.

A mutation of "pen and sword, in accord" of course.

This trope is not for gun and sword combinations, thats something else. (Its not a trope yet, but there's plans for it and its detailed on the Choice of Two Weapons page.)

Examples: (transferred from the Choice of Two Weapons article)

Anime and Manga

  • Uryu of Bleach relies almost entirely on the bow part of his ranger make-up, and even his melee weapon is an arrow which can also be fired with devastating consequences, but he has the option of melee open to him.
  • Guts of Berserk also fits the ranger profile, using a repeating crossbow along with his BFS. He deviates from the general profile by being heavily armored (since he's a mercenary who mainly favors melee) and by having a third weapon (a gunpowder cannon built into his arm) as a nasty surprise for any demons who think they have him beat.


  • Aragorn from Lord of the Rings uses both bow and sword in the movie, (and is the source of this combination being dubbed "The Ranger".) but he usually only uses the bow to open battle, staying in melee once it opens. Legolas is more flexible, switching between his bow and his knives when appropriate. Elves in general are capable of both archery and swordplay. Faramirs rangers from Ithilien used bows and swords and were lightly armoured, but an exception is the Gondor archers, who are depicted in plate armour, though it may have been a lighter style.
  • In the Errol Flynn version of Robin Hood, Robin is an expert fencer and bowman.


  • Tarl Cabot of Gor is an expert swordsman, but he's also quite good with the Peasant bow, even though everyone else looks down on it because it's a Peasant weapon.

Tabletop Games

Video Games

  • Your hero from Fable 1 is an example of a ranger, with a bow and a sword. Also a Magic Knight, as he can wield will magic.
  • Easily possible along with countless combinations in The Elder Scrolls
  • Ranged units in Total War will either come under The Ranger or The Musketeer, depending on whether they are archers or gunners. The weapons vary, low level archers use knives, wealthier ones may have swords.''
    • A few melee units carry javelins as well, and there are a few units who both carry javelins and can hold their own in melee.
  • Link carries a slingshot, then an actual bow, in Legend of Zelda games. Of course, thats hardly the only weaponry combination he's capable of...
  • The majority of units in Battle for Wesnoth carry two different types of weapons, often one each of ranged and melee.
  • Just one of many combinations possible in Might and Magic
  • Arcanum characters can be built who switch between guns or bows and melee weapons, but carrying multiple weapons of your chosen type is also common because Breakable Weapons is in effect and swords are no good for breaking open stubborn chests.
  • In Dynasty Warriors 5 (and possibly other games in the series), all characters can switch between their normal weapon and a bow. The bow is more or less useless, though.
  • Its a fairly good idea to have this set up in Diablo, at least in the first game. Warriors occasionally find themselves needing to shoot at something (or, in the case of enemies trapped on the opposite sides of portcullises, want to pick enemies off at a distance.) A rogue often finds herself needing to resort to hand-to-hand if fast enemies are encroaching, so having a sword and shield and the strength to use both available helps. Straying out of The Ranger and into Magic Knight, magic is helpful to the rogue as well, though the warriors maximum magic is so low that its barely worth his while. The sorceror is pretty damn awful with both bow and sword, but its worth giving him a bit of strength and a light sword and shield in case he runs out of mana. (True, you might be screwed if this is the case, but its better than nothing.)
  • Shadow of the Colossus - you have exactly two weapons, a bow and a sword.

[[AC: Western Animation

Hank the Ranger from the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon is an aversion, oddly, in that he uses only his energy bow.

Real Life

  • The Romans had a variant, carrying javelins into battle along with their swords and signature shields. They each carried two javelins.
  • Parthian cataphracts carried bows as well as their maces. As if they needed to be more deadly. One wonders what would have happened if the European knight had picked up on this approach...
  • English longbowmen prove themselves to be quite lethal in hand to hand as well as ranged combat when the few bogged down French knights at Agincourt managed to close the gap. (mainly due to the English running out of arrows!) With a variety of weapons, and due to the French being caught in the mud, the archers played a decisive role in defeating the remaining French.
  • Who could forget Jack Churchill? In charge of third and then second commando during the Second World War, he was famous for fighting with a longbow and a claymore.
  • The Vikings weren't averse to using archery to open battle, not to mention chucking spears, despite their Blood Knight reputation.

Rolling Updates (Why do I always forget that?)
Community Feedback Replies: 12
  • January 9, 2010
    Note: I'm planning to launch this fairly quickly, as there are already plenty of examples and its building off an existing trope.
  • January 9, 2010
    Just as a note, tho, aside from Faramir's rangers from Ithilien, all the Gondor archers in the Lord Of The Rings films were wearing plate armor, though it may have been a lighter style.
  • January 9, 2010
    Is there a deliberate exclusion of the classic 'ranger' example from Dungeons And Dragons for the Tabletop Games section?
  • January 9, 2010
    Nope, example just hasn't come up yet. I'll add it now.
  • January 9, 2010
    Are all of these examples of the Zelda-style full sword with a bow? I don't doubt we have bowmen who use daggers out there, but a full sword?
  • January 9, 2010
    These all seem to be sword-and-bow combos. (Ok, there's a sword-and-javelin combo in there somewhere.)
  • January 9, 2010
    Supporting the Dynasty Warriors part, in Strikeforce, you can have two different weapons to fight with. One is your main weapon which has a unique moveset while the secondary can be anything you want. Of course, some characters are better with certain weapons then others and some enemy units may shrug off a certain weapon while keeling to another.
  • January 9, 2010
    I'll put that under the main Choice Of Two Weapons example for now Gyro.
  • January 9, 2010
    If everyone is ok with this I'll launch it.
  • January 9, 2010
    I approve.
  • January 9, 2010
    Shadow Of The Colossus - you have exactly two weapons, a bow and a sword.
  • January 10, 2010
    The Errol Flynn version of Robin Hood is not literature, but a film called The Adventures Of Robin Hood. Robin also wields a quarterstaff.

    Hank the Ranger from the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon is an aversion, oddly, in that he uses only his energy bow.